By Michael Rich
In a matchup where the peripherals revolved around the coach, it was Maddie Smith’s goal with 12:24 left that was ultimately the difference.
Ashley Tillou found Smith, who finally got one past Barons goalie Hayley Cowan late in the game to give host Delaware Hayes a 1-0 win over visiting Buckeye Valley Tuesday night.
It was a bitter pill for the Barons to swallow. This game is always circled on the calendar, for both teams, but when head coach Bradd Smiley left Buckeye Valley to take the same position at Hayes, it only added fuel to the fire.
“Absolutely, it increased the intensity,” he said. “I don’t think there are any hard feelings. I think we all left friends. It’s a little bit more incentive for them. I get it. I understand it. I didn’t expect anything less than what they brought.”
Smiley looks back fondly at his three-year tenure with the Barons.
“They’re an amazing bunch of kids,” Smiley said of his former team. “I love them to death. I love Buckeye Valley for giving me the opportunity out there. But I’m blessed to be here and surrounded with the girls that I’m surrounded with, and to be able to coach my daughter (junior forward Ashley Smiley).
“How many coaches that are dads get an opportunity to spend their last two years with their daughter? That was a great opportunity for me. But even with my daughter, it was still a very tough decision. I knew what (Buckeye Valley) had … I knew they were loaded. It was a hard decision. They have a lot of talent.”
BV coach Shannon Schneider said that Cowan, who was peppered with shots all game long, played her best game of the season to stand out for the Barons (6-5-1). She made 13 stops during a game that was scoreless most of the way.
“Hayley Cowan is a great goalkeeper, and she’s been working hard all season,” the coach said. “This is the best I’ve ever seen her play. Her dives were on point and she was coming out for the ball. She kept us in the game.”
The win is the fifth in the last seven games (one loss and one tie) for the Pacers (6-7-1), who lost six games in a row earlier in the season.
“Our strength of schedule was pretty brutal (early in the season),” Smiley said. “But these girls, they’ve never put their heads down. It’s part of the culture and the behavioral change of building a program. They’ve put it together and found their stride.”
Both teams finish up league play Tuesday night. The Barons host Fairbanks and Hayes travels to Olentangy.
Olentangy 3, Canal Winchester 1
Julia Scott, Erin Wilt and McKenna Reisterstown scored as the Braves rolled to a 3-1 non-league win over the visiting Indians Thursday in Lewis Center.
Marissa Eau Claire had an assist in the win while Kelsey Hill finished with three saves in the Olentangy goal.
Also: Liberty 5, Grove City 0; Orange 2, DeSales 1; Hartley 1, Big Walnut 0.
Ryan Krewson scored a pair of first-half goals and Delaware Hayes added three more in a span of 1:23 in the second half to roll to a 6-0 win over visiting Buckeye Valley Tuesday night.
Brody Kannally had a goal and two assists. His second-half goal was sandwiched between goals by Justin McKee and Brandon Becker.
Brad Peters fired a pass from midfield to McKee at the top of the box. He turned, fired and found an opening on the left side of the goal to put Hayes up 3-0 with 26:50 left.
Hayes scored two more goals in the next 1:23 to put the game away before Connor Derstine added the final tally on an assist by Mason McGeath with 3:07 left.
Caleb King had eight saves for the Barons.
Big Walnut 3, Thomas Worthington 2
Tim Rumas scored a first-half goal to get the Golden Eagles rolling and Chase Geddis found the back of the net twice in the second half as Big Walnut rallied to a 3-2 non-league win over Thomas Worthington Thursday night.
Michael Kline finished with six saves in the BW goal.
Also: Westerville Central 4, Orange 1; Gahanna 1, Liberty 0.
Worthington Kilbourne def. Olentangy 24-26, 25-19, 15-25, 25-13, 15-10; Liberty def. Hilliard Davidson 25-15, 25-17, 25-12; Delaware Christian def. Madison Christian 30-28, 25-18, 25-17; Big Walnut def. New Albany 25-19, 25-23, 22-25, 21-25, 15-12; Mount Vernon def. Hayes 25-17, 25-15, 25-12.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.